September 25, 2013
Himalayan Hiking by Sam Jackson
This summer we supported Sam Jackson on a Himalayan adventure. Sam takes us through his time in this vast mountain range as he sets out to set up the second highest meteorological station in the world and explore the incredible scenery surrounding him and his crew. "I have just returned from the Himalayas having successfully summited 6000m peaks in stormy conditions, visited traditional Ladakhi villages and eaten porridge almost every single day of the expedition! I am proud to say that my Planks Clothing you so kindly sponsored me with was there for every step of the journey. We arrived in Leh on the 25th July and spent three days acclimatising to the altitude before heading deeper into the mountains, passing through the villages of Hemis and Nawang. As we established our Basecamp at 4900m, I was struck by the sheer scale and size of the surrounding mountains. One peak in particular stood out with a glacier on one side and a cliff on the other, and we immediately decided that reaching the summit of this should be our main goal for the expedition. We also had the scientific aims of setting up the second highest meteorological station in the world, as well as mapping the flora and fauna in the area. These were both completed within the first couple of weeks, and we managed to drag the weather station on a stretcher (along with our 20kg packs) to an altitude of 5417m. It is now fully operational and should, hopefully, continuously send data back to the UK. Having completed our scientific requirements, we were able to put our full focus on exploration and adventure. The following few days were spent carrying out day treks to check out the area and find possible routes up the mountains. We found two suitable peaks, the first being Tanglang which towered over us at 5760m and the second being the unnamed mount in the distance that we were already intent on climbing. On 14th August we attempted to summit Tanglang and the combination of altitude, steep slopes and unstable rocks were to make for a very tough climb. After six hours, however, we reached the top and the amazing views made all our struggles worth it. The photos below show me modelling my Planks hat and neck tube at the summit (5760m). Riding on our success from Tanglang, we decided to make for the peak we had learned rose at 5890m and all preparations were in place for the 19th August. Despite foggy conditions early on, we were confident and made good progress in the morning. We reached the ridge line and were just 100m from the summit when big thunderstorms appeared. We knew it would be dangerous to be on a ridge with lightening around, but also knew we could not give up so close to the top so we pushed on. We reached the summit an hour or so later and the sense of achievement was incredible, even if we could not see a thing through the ever-growing clouds. It turns out that we made it just in time as on the way down everybody felt highly static and we had to almost run down to escape the storm. This was a frightening and exhilarating experience, but definitely one I am glad for. P.S. Keep an eye on my youtube channel, I'll have a video from my expedition out within the next couple of weeks - http://www.youtube.com/user/goSAMpro"